I was talking to some comedy writers last night - and we were thinking about why we liked BBC4 so much - the comedy, the documentaries and everything else. We thought it might be because the budgets are so small that anyone making a show isn't doing it for the money, but for the sheer love of it. People with passion are making TV they are passionate about, and figuring out a way of putting it on the screen. Their documentaries are superb for that reason - full of content, and people telling you stuff, rather than atmos, filler and 'coming up later, I'll be telling you about something juicy'.
And think about BBC4's sitcom output for a moment: The Thick of It, Lead Balloon, Getting On, The Great Outdoors. Throw in Screenwipe, We Need Answers and the delightful Diary of a Nobody, The Alan Clarke Diaries and Micromen it's rapidly looking like BBC4 is the HBO of British television. Has BBC4 had any out-and-out comedy failures? There were some shows that weren't to my personal taste, but there has been nothing out there that's really been bad, has there?
BBC4: The HBO of Britain. I salute you. (And it is really true your comedy budget has now been slashed to zero? Clever. With no budget at all, the quality should go through the roof!)